I am loosely basing this on a thread I read where a VA, who normally charges in the £25-£30 per hour, could see a way they could seriously contribute to a potential clients’ requirements and business. They offered a reduced rate and presented a business proposal. The list of requirements was long and involved developing existing business contacts into customers as well as email, social media and calendar organisation. The potential customer came back and said they could get someone in The Philippines to do it for $5 an hour and asked for the rate to be dropped. That disappointed VA quite rightly walked away.
The short answer to this is, no they couldn’t. It’s like comparing apples and pears, it is simply not the same proposition. It then occurred to me that perhaps a large proportion of the business world doesn’t really understand what a Virtual Assistant or VA is and it would be well worth explaining why these two propositions are so different, even if it seems obvious once said.
We all know about call centres in India. When you call one, is it the same as calling one based in the UK? In general businesses shout from the rooftops if they have a UK Call Centre, and there is a reason for that.
How well are you going to be able to collaborate with a VA in a time zone with an 8-hour difference? That’s most of the working day. People hire VAs to free up time, do you really want to be up at night to work with them? Do you really want someone who is working through their night and possibly working through the day too, working in the heart of your life or business?
Most VAs in the UK, including many non-native English speakers, are aware of all the nuances and figures of speech used in modern day business English. Do you really want someone who doesn’t have this day to day involvement with the language being responsible for your social media posts, website content or emails? Will they understand irony, UK marketing, buzzwords and acronyms? Probably not on both counts.
So, you have your $5 an hour VA in Manila doing some email marketing for you and they put the wrong offer information in. This causes your business to lose revenue. They made a mistake, and anyone can, but how are you going to claim for that error? Will they be insured; will you even be able to make a claim? Even if you could, would the value of that claim be the same as it would be in the UK? Probably not on all counts. Most UK VAs will have the appropriate professional insurance and will tell you about it too.
Will they be covered by and comply with other legal UK requirements such a Data Protection, GDPR, PCI DSS and UK Anti Money Laundering Regulations? Almost certainly not. How can you be certain that your precious data won’t be sold or misused? You can’t.
Another point to consider is that as a UK business owner you are probably interested in the UK Economy. Hiring a UK VA contributes to that economy in the VAs taxes and contributing to the success of another UK business. Sending money outside the country does not.
Systems and Security
Over and above the legal requirements there is also, of course, the technical and systems capabilities. How reliable and secure is the internet connection going to be? What software do they have and are they the same editions used in the UK? Is the software used a genuine product or pirated? What security and anti-virus precautions are in place and are they kept up to date? Is the computer used for your work a private one or in a shared location? What network is it on and how secure is it? Where will your data be stored? It’s unlikely you will know the answers to any of these questions.
Do you really want your latest industry report typed up and emailed to your customers only to find it is riddled with viruses? No.
If you want to hire a VA, whether it is for a one-off engagement or on an ongoing basis, the chances are you are doing this because you need 1) more time and/or 2) expertise.
With that in mind, how confident can you be that when your work comes back from your $5 per hour VA it won’t take more than a few minutes of your time to check it? Will you only have to give it a quick check over to ensure it is up to standard? If you are going to have to spend time checking everything in detail, what’s the point? I have also seen the argument for having several cheap VAs doing different jobs. Seriously – if you have time to micro-manage them and check all their work and still run your business you may as well do it yourself or pool those $5 together and get a good UK VA! Think, if you don’t have time to do something properly now, when are you going to have the time to do it over?
UK VAs Offer Better Value for Money
So even against the $5 per hour rate, your average UK VA offers incredible value for money. Here’s a list of some of the things you can expect to benefit from over and above the actual piece of work or requirement for your business:
Virtual Assistants pay their own taxes and National Insurance – not you.
You pay a VA when they work – not when they are sick or on holiday.
A UK VA covers their own insurance requirements – transport, professional, public, health etc.
You don’t have to train them in anything other than what is specific to your company.
Your VA provides all their own equipment and covers all the associated overheads of doing so. This includes, electricity, heating, telephone, internet, software, security and so on.
UK VAs have great internet connections and security systems.
They often have industry specialisations relevant to your business.
UK VAs know a lot of people and have lots of useful business contacts and recommendations you can benefit from.
Virtual Assistants in the UK usually have a high level of expertise and experience behind them.
A VA is running their own business, just like you and contributing to the British economy.
A UK VA knows the rules and laws in the UK and can protect you and your business accordingly.
You’re unlikely to be suspected of money laundering by paying a bona fide UK VA.
Being the in UK they are working in the same time zone as you and usually your customers too.
Hiring a UK Virtual Assistant has a shorter on-boarding and integration process into your business.
Once you find your ideal UK Virtual Assistant, you are sure to agree that we are absolutely worth our rate in gold.
To find out more about the full range of VA services we can organise for you, contact us, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat about your requirements. We have a bank of tried and tested, trustworthy and productive professional VA’s ready to help you.
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